Are the Anti-Bacterial Properties of Coconut Oil Desirable?

by (77348) Updated September 19, 2013 at 2:34 PM Created April 28, 2011 at 6:31 PM

Many people tout Coconut oil's anti-bacterial properties as somehow good. However, if it really does kill bacteria, then that means it kills good bacteria as well as bad bacteria when it passes through the gut. If so, is this something that we should be ingesting, especially in the hyper-sanitized world we live in?

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16 Replies

4337 · April 28, 2011 at 10:26 PM

Medium chain triglycerides are absorbed in the upper gut so they never reach the colon.

1212 · April 28, 2011 at 7:06 PM

The lauric acid in coconut oil is not supposed to kill the good bacteria in the gut

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12362 · April 28, 2011 at 6:56 PM

Yes we should be ingesting it! The benefits far outweigh any worry about killing off good bacteria - your body is colonized with so much good bacteria that you would have to spend you life eating coconut oil inorder to do major damage (IMO) But definitely watch the amount! Read the post today from ROB re: fat overload and the possibility of a Herxheimer reaction.

10 · September 21, 2012 at 1:10 PM

About a year ago I added coconut oil to my typical breakfast of eggbeaters. After cooking the eggbeaters I add a large tablespoon of coconut oil. The first thing I noticed was an improvement in my oral health. My gums seemed healthier. When I went to my regular 3 month cleaning the technician was done in about 15 min. When I questioned her about why it didnt take the normal 30-40 minutes to clean my teeth she said that there is very little plaque. I read more about coconut oil and its antibacterial properties and it made sense to me. If plaque is caused by bacteria and by eating coconut oil I am killing that plaque then I am hoping its doing the same thing to the plaque in my arteries. Im a believer. Just had another appointment and the dentist said since there is so little plaque and gums are in such good shape she should change my cleanings to every 6 months. By the way, I have never had very good oral hygene habits and that continues. I brush my teeth infrequently, maybe 3 times a week. I hate to admit that but its true and so is the fact that coconut oil has healed my bleeding gums and gotten rid of almost all my normal plaque deposits.

3277 · May 20, 2012 at 1:41 PM

God (or mother nature) created chocolate.

Chocolate is tasty to us, toxic for dogs.

Not everything on this planet is optimal for all creatures on the plant.

Just say'n.


454 · April 28, 2011 at 6:37 PM

I've been regularly consuming and using coconut oil as a moisturizer for the past 2 months and I haven't noticed anything negative. My skin has never been this smooth and I feel better than I have in a long time (not that it all has to do with the coconut oil). My acne and cuts heal faster than before. Also, it hasn't affected my bowl movements negatively either. Sorry my answer isn't scientific or anything, but it's the truth :)

0 · August 09, 2013 at 5:35 AM

This is a good question. I can say that coconut oil messed up my bowel habits. I had to go off of it and onto some probiotics to fix the problem. People say zeolite only removes heavy metals but not minerals, but I can testify that's not true either. I can't take zeolite for that reason. For the reasonably healthy person or only somewhat sick person, these are awesome. But I'd be careful otherwise. Just listen to your body. Be watchful.

0 · November 24, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Stomach acid is meant to sterilize the food. Mostly this works, and the upper small bowel is often sterile. Effects of coconut oil will be minimal compared to hydrochloric acid.

The medium chain triglycerides, the active antibacterial agents, are absorbed in the upper small bowel. They should help with the sterility there, a desirable thing.

In practice, many native people in the tropics have coconut as a major component of their diet, and they are doing just fine from a bowel health standpoint. This is not a problem.


0 · September 29, 2012 at 11:46 PM

The medium chain fatty acids are not anti-bacterial until they are broken apart from the triglycerides. So, they are mostly anti-bacterial and anti-viral in your bloodstream. It's like the best of both worlds. They don't affect gut bacteria, but they work against the bad boys trying to kill you from the inside.

0 · September 24, 2012 at 1:39 PM

More then once study has been done in recent years showing that coconut oil has properties to it which discourages bacteria, fungi and possibly even viruses. A study done in the University of Santo Tomas showed that. I had read about it a bit on here originally: http://avrotor.blogspot.com/2009/06/by-dr-abe-v-rotor-virgin-coconut-oil-is.html

0 · September 14, 2012 at 7:07 AM

natural antibiotics do not kill good bacteria

8 · February 17, 2012 at 1:01 AM

I dont know how to respond to this but 2 ways:

god believers: do you seriously think god creates such beneficial food for human consumption with such horrible side effects(cleaning good bacterias)?

atheists:do you seriously think mother nature produces such beneficial food for human consumption with such horrible side effects(cleaning good bacterias)?

i understand if we were to take man made anti-biotic, all bacteria will be killed and you need to replenish good ones back. but nature is so perfect that do u seriously think it has effect same as man made "cures". Til today, man made medicine has always worked in ways that fixes one problem and causes another. eveything from HIV drugs to the innocent ascorbic acid. Nature has so much to offer...but we have been brainwashed to think all medicine work the same way as man made ones. if god/mother nature creates a food suited for human consumption, delicious, natural, has so much nourishing and health benefit, do you seriously think he/she would put in side effects that can cause people's life? if so, god/mother is a cruel thing or just has too much time to spare and make pointless things on earth.

713 · April 28, 2011 at 10:16 PM

I read today that a couple drops of coconut oil in the ear will clear up a clogged ear. Anyone have any experience with that? :)

3395 · April 28, 2011 at 9:00 PM

The Tiana coconut company's website suggests that lauric acid doesn't harm natural bacterial flora but instead exhibits antimicrobial activity only with invaders. Of course, they have a vested interest in convincing consumers that that is the case, and they didn't cite anything, so it's hard to say if that's true. I've been searching for the antimicrobial mechanism of lauric acid, but I can't find anything. That just leaves me with the unsatisfying guess of an answer that if the Tiana people are correct, then our natural flora have evolved to roll with the lauric acid punches in the HG diet, maybe even eat the lauric acid, and the invaders haven't been able to do so.

4753 · April 28, 2011 at 7:56 PM

I've never seen any evidence that coconut oil is anti-bacterial but rather that lauric acid is anti-fungal (in vitro afaik) and that it may be beneficial from that perspective.

Two very different things...

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